An honorary member of Buckingham Palace has resigned and apologized after a founder of a black charity said she was asked if she was really British at a royal reception on Tuesday.
The guest, Ngozi Fulani, is the executive director of Sistah Space, an organization that provides specialized services to women of African and Caribbean descent affected by abuse.
Fulani was attending a royal function on domestic abuse hosted by the queen consort on Tuesday night when she said a staff member began a series of questions that the palace called “unacceptable and deeply regrettable.”
Fulani said the person persistently asked her about her heritage and would not accept that she was a British citizen.
Sistah Space shared a rough transcript of the conversation on Twitter on Wednesday. Fulani said that after identifying herself as British-born, the person asked her “where do you really come from”; “where do your people come from”; and “when did you first come here?”
When Fulani replied that she was from the London borough of Hackney, the family member insisted, “No, what part of Africa are YOU from?” as quoted on the Sistah Space Twitter account.
Buckingham Palace, which did not name the family member involved in the incident, said today that the person in question has apologized and “departed from his honorary position with immediate effect.”
Sistah Space said there was “no purpose in naming and shaming” the person in question on its Twitter account on Wednesday, adding that “it’s the system that needs to be overhauled.”
“Yes, the person was offensive, but there is no use naming and shaming them, it would make us just as bad. We prefer this to be handled nicely,” Sistah Space said.
British media identified the Buckingham Palace official as Lady Susan Hussey, who served as a lady-in-waiting to the late Queen Elizabeth II for more than 60 years and is godmother to the Prince of Wales.
CNN has reached out to Ngozi Fulani and Buckingham Palace for further comment from the family member in question.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman acknowledged the incident, saying the palace was taking the situation “extremely seriously.”
“Unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made. We have communicated with Ngozi Fulani on this matter and we are inviting her to discuss all elements of her experience in person if she wishes,” the spokesperson said.
“In the meantime, the person in question wishes to express his deep apologies for the harm caused and has stepped down from his honorary position with immediate effect.”
News of the encounter broke when the Prince and Princess of Wales traveled to the US ahead of the second Earthshot Prize ceremony later this week.
Assman for William said: “Racism has no place in our society, these comments were unacceptable. It is correct that the individual in question has resigned.”
The incident is likely to revive concerns that the palace is elite and out of touch. when it comes to issues of race and identity.
In recent years, the palace has faced accusations of racist behavior, including in its hiring practices. decades ago and the treatment of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. A former anti-terrorism police chief said tuesday that Meghan and Harry had faced “disgusting and very real” threats from right-wing extremists.
Meghan stated in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year that an anonymous family member made comments about the skin color of her unborn baby while she was pregnant with Archie.
prince william later said the royal family “was not very much a racist family”.
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